This week's Queen City Pretty is North Carolina Jewelry Designer, Leigh Ann Brown. Leigh Ann is the owner of Painted Beauty Jewelry, one of my FAVORITE online jewelry boutiques. I have known Leigh Ann for several years and she never disappoints when presenting new creations.
Like their creator, each piece is not only gorgeous but one of a kind! Not only is Leigh Ann a gifted Jewelry Designer but she also works as a full-time esthetics educator at the Aveda Institute in Charlotte, NC .
Beautiful on the inside and out, Leigh Ann truly deserves to be featured as our Queen City Pretty.
(Leigh Ann Brown:Photo by Lake Norman Photography)
What inspired you to create your own jewelry line? I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself creatively. When I was little I was completely uninhibited and would perform for anyone who was willing to listen and watch. I made up my own songs on my little yellow, plastic guitar and insisted on pursuing my musical talents with a “real” guitar. Upon getting said guitar I promptly gave up my musical career for something else . . . dancing and gymnastics!
Yes, I would cartwheel,tumble, and shimmy all over the place and I loved every second of it . . . until, that is, I realized people were really watching me. I wasn’t going to stand for this and, you guessed it, my future career as a performer fizzled. SO . . . still longing to be creative, I decided to turn to a quieter and more reserved form of self-expression . . . drawing and painting. Over the years I have created a slew of greeting cards and my family was convinced that I should become the next big artist for Hallmark. Clearly that never happened, but who’s to say what the future may hold!
Things really began to take shape, however, when the world of friendship bracelets was introduced to me. I was CRAZY about making friendship bracelets and taught myself how to make all different types of patterns. I was seriously a knotting fool! At the age of 11 I began selling my bracelets to the guys on the Buffalo State College hockey team! In retrospect, I was an entrepreneur at heart but it took awhile for me to truly realize my dream and make it a reality.
In 2003, with an infinite amount of support from my husband, Ranard, I developed Painted Beauty Jewelry. Painted Beauty evolved from my desire to create beautiful jewelry that defines the uniqueness we all possess as women. It feels absolutely amazing to have this opportunity to do something that I love. Life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy and aren’t passionate about. I am, and will always be,extremely thankful to have such a tremendous amount of support from Ranard (mybiggest fan), as well as my entire family. They are all my dream builders and with their love I feel like anything is possible.
You've create hundreds of pieces of jewelry, do you have a favorite? When someone creates something from the heart, it instantly becomes apart of who they are, which means I have hundreds of favorites! All of my designs are made using sterling silver or gold-filled metal, as well as semi-precious stones. In addition, I absolutely adore incorporating vintage components into my designs. There is something rewarding about taking a piece from the past, whether it was a piece of jewelry, an old button, or a chandelier crystal, and making it into something new. I always wonder, ‘Who was the woman who once wore this brooch? What was she like? Why is it that her brooch is now being sold at a flea market?’ It is difficult for me to allow such pieces from the past to be discarded. It’s not junk . . . it was once something very special to someone. For this reason, I feel compelled to revive these old treasures and bring new life into them, while still honoring the individual who once adorned or cherished them
How do you pamper yourself after a long week? Luckily for me, I have the immense opportunity to pamper myself throughout the week! In addition to running Painted Beauty Jewelry and creating designs, I am a full-time esthetics educator at the Aveda Institute in Charlotte, NC. I am surrounded by the world of beauty each and every day! At the end of the week, however, all I really want to do is wear a fresh face – free of makeup – and read a good book outside on the deck with my dog. Good old fashioned rest and relaxation is my kind of pampering!
Do you have a spa/salon service that you can't live without? I absolutely love Aveda’s Tourmaline Botanical Skin Resurfacing Facial. It is Aveda’s innovative and natural alternative to microdermabrasion. Through a special form of gentle manual exfoliation called gommage, which literally means “to erase,” combined with the energizing properties of Tourmaline, a mineral found in the Earth, the facial smooths skin texture, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and diminishes pore size while significantly increasing radiance. The glowing results achieved through this facial are comparable to microdermabrasion, but with far less irritation or inflammation. I feel radiantly beautiful when I receive this facial!
If so, where do you go? The Aveda Institute in Charlotte, of course! The Institute has a full-service salon, spa, and retail area. If you are ever in the neighborhood, you should definitely pop in and schedule yourself an appointment!
What is your personal definition of Beauty? Beauty is something that comes from within; it is not the same as being good looking. While beauty is outwardly represented by the physical vehicle that leads us through life, who we are from the inside can directly impact how we appear on the outside . . .for better or worse. It is my belief that true beauty is achieved when people embrace themselves wholly, from the inside out. Loving the skin we were born in (flaws and all) demands a quiet confidence that effortlessly exudes beauty. Beauty is something natural and pure. Ultimately, beauty regimes should not set out to alter our physical selves beyond recognition. Instead, beauty regimes should be performed as an act of kindness to oneself . . . a way of saying, “I love me just the way I am and I am totally worth it!” This is the kind of beauty that lasts forever.
“It is beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.”
Interested in viewing Leigh Ann's Collection at Painted Beauty Jewelry? Visit her on the web at http://www.paintedbeauty.com or on Facebook at